2 items from 2016
★★★☆☆ In an act of alchemy thoroughly appropriate to his subject matter, Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson manages to be both clear and misty-eyed about the traditions of the circus and vaudeville in new archive documentary The Show of Shows. After the interlocking segments of his wonderful feature debut Of Horses and Men, Erlingsson crafts a paean to a dying form of entertainment, fusing together carefully gathered footage of a variety of performances into several themed sections. Despite avoiding narration, the film captures a sense of heart-swelling wonder in one instant and reminds us of the darker aspects in the next. This is brilliantly assisted by an original score from Georg Holm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, in collaboration with Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Dagur Holm.
- CineVue UK
Distinctive Icelandic helmer Benedikt Erlingsson (“Of Horses and Men”) delivers a cinematic delight with “The Show of Shows,” an expertly curated non-dialogue montage of archival footage showcasing all the appeals and quirks of more than a century of circus and vaudeville acts on celluloid. Edited by David Alexander Corno with a terrific understanding of theme and rhythm, helped immeasurably by Sigur Ros’ specially composed score, “Show” acknowledges the darker side of such spectacles while recognizing the collegiality and talent of performers, along with the excitement of spectators. Though commissioned by BBC Storyville, this big-top docu belongs on the big screen.
Britain’s National Fairground Archive was the crucial source of footage for “Show,” which mixes Super-8 home movies, classic Edison films, amateur footage and any other kind of moving-picture material from the beginning of cinema through the 1960s to celebrate as well as quietly comment on the fascination with vaudeville, »
- Jay Weissberg
2 items from 2016
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